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Friday, January 25, 2013

Time travel

Time travel.
I'm always on about it in my architecture history blog.
Perhaps everyone does it.
I know Al Purdy did it.

These lines are from 'Inside the Mill', a poem which appears in many collections, but which I am reading tonight in  Sundance at Dusk (1976)

Although this building is not Roblin's Mill (it's a falling-down house near Salmon Point), it helps me be in touch with the lines in the poem.

Of his early explorations of the ruined mill in the village of Ameliasburgh, and the way the place put him into contact with those gone before, Al said:

"When you cross the doorway you feel them
when you cross the places they've been
there's a flutter of time in your heartbeat
of time going backward and forward
if you feel it and perhaps you don't
but it's voyaging backward and forward
on a gate in the sea of your mind"...

Unfortunately, one is hard-pressed to commune with the mill and those who peopled it, for the mill was uprooted in 1963 and reassembled for the tourists at Black Creek Pioneer Village. The mill appears often in Purdy's work, more real somehow in his words than as the historical artifact it became. 

At the bend in A'burg's main street, where once stood Owen Roblin's mill and his proud house opposite, is a plaque erected by the 7th Town Historical Society, who doubtless felt the loss keenly.

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